I lost a close friend today.
For most, the focus today is on fathers as well it should be, but for me, it is a time of reflection, confusion, sadness and peace.
After being diagnosed with Stage four cancer in late February, the courageous battle came to an end. With a few final breaths just after one in the morning, Michelle left this world with what we hope was a sense of closure and peace.
How rapidly the progression of the disease took over her senses. What was once a strong powerful woman with conviction and love was reduced to a withering child who was wrought with pain and suffering.
How do those she left behind deal with the rash of feelings? The only possible silver lining we can take from this is that her pain is gone. It is a small consolation to a life lost so young. Just one month past her birthday, Michelle is gone. We knew the clock was ticking and comforted her day and night for the last several months, but until that phone call comes in the early hours of the morning, you can not even comprehend the feelings that will rush through your body.
Each night at home or the hospital, after countless hours, our last words to each other were “I Love You”. Would it be the last time, we cannot tell but it was the love that kept us all together during this difficult time. I remember for many years, I would always say those words to my mother when I last spoke to her for the day. I didn’t sense anything would happen to her, but I knew, if her time on earth would end, I could feel a sense of comfort knowing those were the last words I said to her.
As I said my final goodbye last Monday, with the same words I said each and every night along with a kiss on the cheek, I knew I gave her all the time and will I had during her final months. It was a moment wrapped in bittersweet fear, anger, love and family. I wasn’t blood by any means but talking to her mother, father, brother and friends, we became a family.
Last night, just hours before hearing the news, I sent a message to her mother just letting her know I was thinking of all of them. She called back and we spoke for half and hour. In hindsight, it was ironic that we found each other just moments before the passing.
Today has been marked by visits and calls sharing the news and letting this all sink in.
Life will continue and the sun will rise once again tomorrow, but with one less person that we love and adore by our sides.
Today is and will continue to be very difficult as I will spend most of it remembering a remarkable person. Michelle was a healer. She always looked at ways to make the world better. If she saw someone struggling or in need of assistance she would step in. As long as I knew her, she did nothing but give of herself. She was an incredible mother to her dogs and cat. I once said, if she had the space to adopt every stray dog in the state she would. Believe me, she would. She fought against injustice and believed in the simple pleasures of friends, family and loved ones. She was remarkable in her outlook on life. She didn’t judge, she smiled. Right until the end, her focus was on everyone around her.
A solidly independent woman who took care of herself and was a fighter. She had a passion for arts and crafts and planned to buy land so her animals could roam and be free to run. She loved Carole King, Ellen and most of all Jack, her beloved dog that never left her side. When she was in pain, he was in pain. When she was happy, he was happy. It was a relationship that was rare and pure.
She will be so sorely missed….
Thank you Michelle for being a part of my life.